GUWAHATI, Jan 8 - The Union Government had released Rs 292 crore for the panchayat sector in Assam in August last year, but Dispur is yet to utilize this fund.
Stating this here today, Nihal Chand, Union Minister for State for Panchayati Raj, said that strict instructions have now been issued to officials here to release the funds to the panchayats within the next seven days.
He said that Rs 292 crore was sent by the Centre on August 18, 2015, along with guidelines to the State Government to release the money to the concerned department within 15 days.
�It is unfortunate that the State Government has not spent the funds even though more than four months have passed since it was sent,� Nihal Chand said.
He said that the State Government is not serious about allocation of Central funds and added that it is blocking development of the panchayati raj system.
The Minister said that he had met senior State Government officials during his visit here and has directed the officials concerned to ensure that the funds are spent within seven days.
Nihal Chand�s statement came at a time when the war of words between the Central and the State governments have intensified over the last few months on various issues, ranging from withdrawal of Special Category State status to change in funding pattern of Central schemes.
It may be mentioned that the Centre and the State Government have been engaged in a war of words over fund utilisation. The State Government, on a number of occasions, have rejected Centre�s charges on fund release.